Showing posts with label noxious pests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label noxious pests. Show all posts

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Cometh the rain, cometh the cane toads

Cane Toad eggs & tadpoles
Image: The Conversation, 31 August 2011

The Daily Examiner
, 25 March 2019, p.13:

With a solid drop of rain falling in the coastal area of the Clarence Valley last Friday night, cane toads will be taking up this much overdue opportunity to reproduce their kind, much to the disappointment of those who are working hard to control this pest.

Landowners can help by simply inspecting their dams, ponds and any temporarily flooded areas for toad spawn (long strings of eggs that do not float and resemble jelly shoes laces) or toad tadpoles (typically jet black in colour and seen ‘grazing’ in shallow, warm water schooling in tight schools or clusters).

The consistent effort of CVCIA volunteers and increasing effort by landowners at Micalo Island has seen numbers of toads plummet over the last three seasons and this season to date round-ups have collected an average of 328 toads compared to 397 and 764 in the 2017/18 and 2016/17 seasons, respectively.

The best time to inspect such water bodies is during daylight hours when the sun is high and visibility into the water is at optimum levels and anyone who believes they have found toad spawn is encouraged to remove it immediately while other signs of toad breeding should be reported to either Clarence Landcare on 66435009 or CVCIA Landcare on 0477616210 or email

This Friday night CVCIA Landcare’s effort will return to Yamba Golf Course where volunteers will meet in the southern car park at 7.30pm and any interested persons are most welcome to come along.

Adult Cane Toad
Rhinella marina
Image: Australian Museum

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Australia’s national science agency CSIRO will release a new biocontrol agent in a bid to help save rainforests from an invasive South American weed

Wandering trad (Tradescantia fluminensis)

, news release, 22 March 2019:

Wandering trad (Tradescantia fluminensis) has become a significant environmental weed in parts of eastern Australia where it forms dense carpets on forest floors, smothering native vegetation and clogging waterways.

CSIRO senior research scientist Dr Louise Morin said weeds like wandering trad had a significant economic, environmental and social impact in Australia.

“Weeds are one of the biggest threats to Australia’s unique environment – in many areas across Australia they are damaging native vegetation, which threatens whole ecosystems including native wildlife,” Dr Morin said.

“Last year Australia spent almost $30 million protecting the natural environment from weeds. In the agriculture sector, weeds cost the industry more than $4.8 billion per year.”

“The fungus is spread through spores and needs the leaves of the wandering trad to survive – if there is no wandering trad to infect, the fungus dies,” Dr Morin said. 

“We know from decades of research in this field, that specialised fungi, like the leaf smut, have specific genes that enable them to successfully infect and cause disease only on single or a narrow range of plant species. “So we look at plants that are related to wandering trad including native plants to make sure the fungus will only infect the weed.” Wandering trad has infested native forests across eastern Australia, from eastern parts of NSW and south-east Queensland, to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria where the biocontrol agent will first be released.


Wandering Trad is not to be confused with a similar looking plant Commelina diffusa which is native to south-east Queensland and north-east NSW. The native plant has blue flowers (usually flowering in autumn) and a slender tapered leaf, unlike the weedy species Tradescantia albiflora (which has fleshier, rounded, glossier leaves). The native plant is not an environmental weed.

Commelina diffusa
Image: Qld Dept. of Agriculture and Fisheries

Friday, 14 September 2018

NSW Far North Coast keeping an eye out for Yellow Crazy Ants

The yellow crazy ant is listed as one of the top 100 worst invasive species by the IUCN and the Global Invasive Species Database. They are a category three restricted pest under the Biosecurity Act 2014. As such, all citizens have a general biosecurity obligation to minimise the risk of further infestation..... 

Lismore local government area residents are reminded that the Crazy Yellow Ant infestation has not yet been completely eradicated and are asked to report any sightings to the Biosecurity hotline 1800 680 244.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

WetlandCare Australia's 14th Annual Cane Toad Roundup at Yamba NSW - Sunday March 4, 2012

Click on poster to enlarge
Be there!
WHERE: Yamba Golf & Country Club
WHEN: Roundup begins after sunset and registration starts at 6.30pm
WHAT TO WEAR & BRING: Covered footwear, clothes appropriate to the weather, gloves, torch, net and insect repellent
CHILDREN: Under 18 year-old participants must be accompanied by an adult. At least 1 adult for every 4 children.
FOOD: Sausage sizzle on the night

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

MailScanner and University of Southampton say "Please do not complain to us. It will do no good."

Out of the blue last week MailScanner, a software project run by the University of Southampton, started to identify all emails I send as possible spam and, those containing links to North Coast Voices or Google searches as possible fraud.

This is not software that I downloaded, so presumably my server has recently installed it at ISP-level.

Julian Field at the university states:

Your system administrator or Internet Provider has installed MailScanner, which modified your e-mail. The MailScanner development team are not responsible for things people do with MailScanner. If you do not like the way your mail is processed, please do not complain to us. It will do no good.

Not good enough Mr. Field! If the university is distributing software to over 100,000 sites which is so open to mismanagement that there is a special FAQ section on the MailScanner website specifically dealing with this nonsense, then you are to blame for the fact that this same software is treating even Google search result links as fraud/spam.

Now on to give my internet service provider a flea in the ear.......

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Another mosquito borne disease getting closer to the NSW North Coast

2009 map of historical QLD Dengue Fever distribution. Dengue has historically been reported in the Northern Territory, New South Wales and north Queensland but it is currently limited by the distribution of its vector, the dengue mosquito to north Queensland.

Ross River Fever (and to a slightly lesser extent Barmah Forest Virus) have long been established on the NSW North Coast.

According to a NSW Dept. of Health media release Mosquito Warning Across NSW issued at the beginning of the month: Ross River Virus is the most widespread arboviral disease in the NSW North Coast region, accounting for about 60% of notifications over the past 20 years and 48.5% over the past 10 years. Notifications of Ross River virus infection from the North Coast accounted for about 33% of all NSW Ross River notifications over the past 10 years and The North Coast has the highest levels of Barmah Forest virus infection incidence in NSW. Notifications of Barmah Forest virus infection from the North Coast accounted for about 55% of all NSW notifications of this infection over the past 10 years.

Now the deadlier Dengue Fever is once more beginning to edge down the Australian east coast towards south-east Queensland from where it will be a short hop across the NSW border.

From The Observer in Gladstone Queensland on 2 April 2010:

QUEENSLAND Health has mounted a "search and destroy mission" against the Dengue Fever carrying mosquito in Gladstone after a positive case in the city.
A local resident, who recently returned from an overseas holiday, has tested positive for an as yet unknown type of dengue......
Paul Florian, director of environmental health services for Central Queensland Public Health Unit, is in Gladstone today working with Gladstone Regional Council staff, conducting door to door inspections and working in "hotspots" to try and reduce numbers of the carrier mosquito.

"Dengue mosquitoes only breed around homes and in urban areas, and not in swamps or creeks," said Mr Florian said.

"They breed in containers that hold water such as buckets, old tyres, tarpaulins and black plastic, pot plant bases, vases, boats, tin cans and plastic containers, roof guttering, rainwater tanks with damaged or missing screens, bird baths, striking containers for plant cuttings, drain sumps, fallen palm fronds and coconut shells."
Mr Florian said the dengue fever carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti, was found in some parts of Gladstone, although not in the abundance in Northern Queensland.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Shooter's Party and hunting in NSW North Coast national parks

The Shooter's Party is not playing well on the NSW North Coast where the natural environment and diverse flora and fauna are still our biggest tourism draw cards and, where residents appreciate their contact with wildlife.

I haven't yet spoken to anyone who favours allowing gun-toting hunters into national parks or the creation of private game reserves stocked with exotic or feral animals.

This 25 August 2009 The Daily Examiner letter to the editor expresses a common view:

Political shenanigans

THE media has had a field day of late reporting on the political shenanigans that the State Labor Government has been resorting to in order to get its legislation through the State's Upper House.
It is their cosy relationship with the Shooters Party and Fred Nile that has culminated in the controversial bill being proposed that will allow sporting shooters to hunt and kill feral animals and a range of native fauna on public land, including national parks, under the guise of conservation hunting.
That political bond saw the creation of the NSW Game Council whose current chairman, Robert Borsak, has political ambitions of his own, and apparently dreams of joining the former council chairman as an Upper House Shooters Party representative.
Last Friday, the ABC's Stateline program reported the scandal and alerted the nation to a website which contains Mr Borsak's account of an elephant hunt he undertook in Zimbabwe.
His gleeful description of the poor animal's screams and subsequent death throes (he had only managed to break its spine with his first shot, so inept are his shooting skills), is sickening indeed.
However, I urge any doubters as to the real motivation behind the Shooters Party move to log on and read that story so as to fully comprehend the implications of allowing the Shooters Bill to progress.
I believe that the majority of those that read and understand the blood lust that is clearly conveyed in the article, would not only refuse to countenance recreational hunting in national parks, but would support moves to put a stop to this barbaric sport altogether.

South Grafton.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Is nature having the last laugh on Monsanto & Co?

Photograph of Palmer Pigweed from Syngenta blog

All across the Mid-South, hundreds of thousands of acres of cotton and soybean fields have been infested with a rapacious, fast-growing weed that's become resistant to the main herbicide on which farmers have relied for more than a decade.

Palmer pigweed, often called "careless weed" by field hands, often is surviving and even thriving despite treatments with the chemical glyphosate -- most commonly sold under the trade name Roundup.

In Arkansas alone, the weed has invaded some 750,000 acres of crops, including half the 250,000 acres of cotton. In Tennessee, nearly 500,000 acres have some degree of infestation, with the counties bordering the Mississippi River hardest hit.

The infestation is cutting farmers' cotton yields by up to one-third and in some cases doubling or tripling their weed-control costs.

The invasive noxious weed Amaranthus palmeri which is doing all that damage in America is also found in Australia and has other cousins here, including the noxious weed Amaranthus blitoides (prostrate pigweed).

Pigweed is not the only pest which has become resistant to glycines and the world-wide list includes a number of other pasture or crop weed species which are found in this country.

The biotechnology industry's boast used to be that the glycine derivative Glyphosate or RoundUp was effective in suppressing 76 out of 78 of the world's worst cropping weeds. This boast appears to be a pale shadow of its former self.

Which leads to the inevitable question - just how long will Australian farmers have before the touted 'benefits' of GM crops disappear into thin air?